At just that moment, we discovered The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.
Alexander poses a thought-provoking and insightful thesis: Mass incarceration, justified and organized around the war on drugs, has become the new face of racial discrimination in the United States. Since 1970, the number of people behind bars in this country has increased 600 percent.
What is most striking about these numbers is the racial dimension. The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid. In Washington, DC, for example, it is estimated that 75 percent of young black men can expect to serve time in prison.